Monday, July 14, 2014

The Poetry of Rufus Griswold (PART THREE)

The Poetry of Rufus Griswold (PART THREE)
Hitherto I have published five fine specimens of my own original verse, and I had thought that those five were all that remained of my poetry.  However, thanks to the efforts of the lovely and talented Ann Neilson of The Materialistic Maiden blog, to whom I am eternally grateful, I am now able to exhibit four more poems from the pen of Rufus Griswold.

You can read more of my poetry here and here.


ALONE sat Hagar in the wild,
Alone, with Ishmael her child,
And through the sultry midday air
Sent up to Heaven her earnest prayer.
Oh, lovely Hagar! keen thy woe,
Thine agony that few may know;
Yet though forsaken and alone,
One star benignant on thee shone;
And, as thy gaze was turned on high,
Its light made all thy anguish fly.
Oh, lovely Hagar! keen thy woe,
But God forbade thy tears to flow!

Remember her example, JANE!
When comes, as come it will, the pain
Of broken faith and heart-felt wrong,
For these, alas! to life belong.
When dark thy sky, when woes assail,
Bend not before the chilling gale,
But upward turn thine eyes to Him,
Whose love nor change nor grief can dim.
However dark thy way may be,
The same bright star will shine on thee
That turned to joy the bitterness
Of Hagar in the wilderness. 

[He urged to the end upon his fellow prisoners the duty of waging unending war against the treacherous and oppressive whites.    Daily paper.]

HA! the wild and scorching pains,
Shooting through my throbbing veins,
And the dimness on my sight,
Turning the broad noon to night,
And the fires within the soul,
Which no longer brook control,
Tell me that my hour is come—
I must hasten to my home!

Who with me before have bowed
Round our sacred council fires—
Hither, ere your chief expires!
Here renew the vow again
Ne’er to wear the white man’s chain,
And while GOD shall give you life,
Ne’er to sheathe th’ avenger’s knife!

Wife! oh wife! come near to me,
Vail thy face and bend thy knee:
Swear by the ALMIGHTY’S arm,
Who will chide thee not, nor harm,
Ne’er to let thy hatred cease
Of the scourges of thy race,
Ne’er to yield, except to might,
Up the red man’s sacred right!

Teach thy daughter, teach thy son,
How his race their father run;
And may each of them inherit
His free soul, his fearless spirit!
May each scorn the white man’s frown,
Who would tread the red man down!
May they each their freedom cherish,
And defend it till they perish!

May thy son be as a brand
Thrown from the ALMIGHTY’S hand
‘Mid the councils of the braves,
Till around their fathers’ graves,
From each mountain and each valley,
Old and young for strife shall rally—
Till GOD’S anger sleeps no more,
And the oppressor’s reign is o’er!

GOD! breathe o’er the stormy floods,
‘Mid the dark and gloomy woods,
Breathe into the red man’s soul
Till he spurn the base control
Of the tyrants who would bind
With their fetters limb and mind—
GOD of Earth and Sea and Air,
Hear the red man’s dying prayer!

Now, O things of earth, farewell!
Broke forever is thy spell!
Hopes that cheered my better days,
Voices of rebuke and praise,
Fields of strife with blood made gory,
Hopes of freedom and of glory,
Ye have left me now alone—

A GENTLE breeze from her high brow
Throws back her raven hair;
Oh, gladness has no longer now
Her wonted empire there!
That brow with clouds is overcast,
That cheek is wan and paled—
What spell has o’er her spirit passed,
And what her heart assailed?

Another gaze: a tear is there—
The effort was in vain;
When sorrow is too deep to bear,
Who shall its tears restrain?
Now the deep fountain is unsealed,
The gushing waters rise,
Her agony is all revealed
In those o’erflowing eyes!

Upon her hand a diamond rare
Reflects the setting sun;
But where is he who placed it there
When their young hearts were one?
Oh, in that word the secret lies,
For they are one no more!
Joy in the faithful bosom dies
When Love’s sweet dream is o’er.
[From American Melodies.]

*Alternatively called "The Deserted", as seen in this issue of The New-Yorker.


AND I look up to Heaven in supplication;
With passionate prayers along the pathway starred
I send my soul to CHRIST for an oblation,
But find the entrance to his[*] presence barred.
To Love Supreme, upon their pearly hinges
The golden gates of Paradise unfold,
As after night and storm their blazing fringes
The clouds lift up, and glory is unrolled,
So beautiful and grand, upon the mountains,
That we see not the valleys, nearer lying,
Nor even hear the musical play of fountains,
Nor the earthlife that gives it glad replying.
To Love Supreme! but ah! my heart is buried
There in her coffin; and the prayer I’m breathing
Is for her smile, on flowers I there have carried,
Her gentle smile, on flowers I there was wreathing—
With more of fear than love, as to a teacher
Comes the young child to ask his mate for playing,
And, as he speaks, lets go his soul to reach her
Ere he has heard the voice of his own praying. 

You can not come, you can not even hear me,
The gates are closed while I without am calling,
I look around, no more I see you near me,
Upon my lifted face are arrows falling.
Because I love you more than I love Heaven
Heaven has no mercy. All my heart’s fond caring
Was for your eyes’ sweet light, that now is riven,
And I grope on in darkness and despairing.
Hear me, oh GOD! if there await no morrow,
If, for our severed hearts, there is no meeting,
If still must fall in tempests all this sorrow,
(No sorrow whiles I held you from its beating!)
Then let the hills, in avalanches turning,
Engulf me in their centres; with her features,
Dear, though so cold, on mine, into that burning
I would go down, with all the meaner creatures,
Calmly into extinction; but desiring
That as I bore what was her form, in blindness,
She would in it relive, for my expiring,
And thrill my panting, sinking soul, with kindness.

Ah! from that verge of Death’s dark boundless ocean,
As I the cliffs from life and hope descended,
Could I look back and know that your devotion
Not with your glory or my gloom is ended —
Hear the old tones, see in the eyes old feelings,
While, for one moment, on my own the pressing
Of your dear lips: O HEAVEN! those wild revealings
Should turn this blast to an immortal blessing.
Then, O ye surges, that are now entombing
The ever-dying in your caverns dreary,
Then I could hear all unappalled your booming,
Nor of your crowding horrors ever weary —
With the last effort of each sense receiving
The truth that should be foil against your powers,
Brave your strange boiling, roaring, and upheaving,
Leap to your horrors as to seas of flowers!

*Note: the "H" in "his" is lowercased, although it should be capitalized (as is the grammatical rule when using this pronoun to describe God and/or Jesus.) This may imply I was very, very angry with God at the time and thus did not feel He deserved to have the "h" capitalized. I was angsty. 

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